Battery electric trucks can achieve TCO parity with diesel trucks the next 10 years

A new study by ICCT analyzes the total cost of ownership (TCO) of battery-electric trucks (BET) in the highest emitting road freight segment: long-distance tractor-trailers. The research covers seven European countries, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, which account for more than 75% of truck sales in the European Union in 2019.

The analysis considers vehicle retail price, financing and residual value, registration and ownership taxes, electricity and diesel costs, maintenance costs, road tolls, battery replacement, and charging infrastructure costs from a first-user perspective over a 5-year analysis period.

From a first-user perspective, the analysis finds that BETs can achieve TCO parity with diesel tractor-trailers during this decade for all the considered countries without any additional policy support. However, there are substantial differences across countries, mainly driven by the disparities in electricity and diesel prices, road tolls, and the currently implemented policy measures. Specifically, BETs operating in Germany, France, and the Netherlands can reach immediate TCO parity with diesel tractor-trailers in 2021–2022. In contrast, other countries witness delays in parity time until the middle of the decade.

Regulatory support can all but eliminate the current TCO gap between BETs and diesel tractor-trailers. These include purchase premiums, road tolls exemptions, and carbon pricing. However, while some of these policies have already been adopted in the countries studied, others are active policy developments that have not yet been adopted.

To close the cost gap and accelerate the deployment of BETs in Europe, policymakers should implement the Eurovignette Directive into national law as expeditiously as possible. In addition, extending the European Emissions Trading Systems to include transport and instituting tax discounts for renewable electricity would also accelerate cost of ownership parity.

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